I never knew I was a victim of any form of domestic violence until eight years later. My image of it was that of an old Lifetime movie on a Sunday: a middle-aged white woman in the suburbs getting brutally beat by her womanizer husband, or a low-income white woman with a drunken spouse who used her as a punching bag.
Those descriptions did not fit my life. My spouse used sexual violence against me, and physical violence with the children, compounded with emotional and psychological torture. No one had a clue. We gave a wonderful presentation as an attractive, young, military family, with a wife in college and a husband who excelled at work.
Inside I was screaming. And there were clues if anyone had been cautious enough to dig below the superficial. The only solution was to medicate me with antidepressants because something was wrong with me. My body was thrown out of equilibrium and everything was going wrong with it. If I did not kill myself, I knew my body would do it for me.
I kept my focus on my children and on my schooling. As a mother, I was guardian of my children and every chance I could, I stood between them and their father in order to bear the brunt of his self-hatred. I knew that education was my only way out of poverty, and thus the ticket to our independence. I saw an exit. I planned. We escaped.
Please support domestic violence victims and survivors by attending the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s conference, July 18 through 23.